Flooded BMW

What did the body shop to my 1993 BMW 740IL to return my car with a dead battery and a severely flooded engine?

Can you be more specific? What happened leading up to this question?

The car has never had a problem starting. It was severely flooded when the body shop returned it after two days and also had a dead battery, which the mechanic later said was still a good battery. The body shop claims it mysteriously and spontaneously flooded due to nothing they did. I need to know what are the possibilities for body shop responsibility for the flooding so I can decide if it’s fair to make them pay the high repair bill. My assumption is that the dead battery came first and then the flooding. The hypothesis is that the shop accidentally ran down the battery and then did something to get the car started that flooded it. It’s fuel injected and my mechanic (a friend of the body shop guys) has changed his prior story and now says the shop did nothing to cause it. But this mechanic and another mechanic have given me no explanation for how this car so severely flooded on its own sitting in a repair bay to the point it had almost no compression in the cylinders. Except mechanic #2 says he’s seen badly flooded engines brought in on very cold days. This car lives in Michiganh and it’s had a lot of could days with no stsarting problems.

I assume by flooding you mean the engine is getting too much gasoline so some questions are in order here.
Who and how determined the car is flooding? A fuel injected car is near impossible to flood unless there is an electronic problem.
If it’s this bad then the engine oil should be contaminated with gasoline. Does the oil have a gas smell to it?

Are you saying this problem occurred 2 days AFTER the car was returned to you and was fine when they returned it? Exactly HOW did they return it?

What was it in the body shop for? Just how bad was the car whacked?
Was this car driven to a body shop or was it towed in?

Too much gasoline due to a no-start condition (even lack of spark) could wash the cylinder walls down which would drop the compression, which would in turn cause the car not to start. (See contaminated engine oil above).

At this point I don’t see anything the body shop could have done to cause a problem like this but a collision might have.
I also think it’s a bit premature at this point to lay the problems of a 16 year old car off on the body shop.
There’s a lot of questions need to be answered on this one.

Thanks for helping. There was no wreck. It was a minor tap on the rear end at a traffic light with light paint scrape. The engine repair ($423) cost more than the body work ($327). The car drove for weeks after the rear end accident, and drove to the body shop, and from the parking lot at the shop into the repair bay. The car was dead and in the repair bay when we picked it up. It was towed to the mechanic who said the compression was about 40-50 in each cylinder (whatever that means). It took the mechanic two days to get the car started again by repeated injections of oil and a lot of black smoke. The smoke was so bad and went on so long he couldn’t see across the street. So there is no doubt that it flooded at the body shop. My question is how?

I didn’t check to see if the gas smell was in the oil.

In Michigan we have a law that says that a mechanic must return the car to the owner in the same driving condition as it came in - and that negligence is presumed from it being dead when you drive it there but it won’t drive out. But I don’t want to be unfair. If there is some way for this car to lose a battery charge, and severely flood, on its own due to a suddenly broken part or something, I want to know.

There’s still too much missing story here.
What exactly was done on the 423 dollar engine repair?
Whose repair bay are you talking about when the vehicle was towed off; the body shop repair bay or another facility?
Who did this 423 dollar engine repair; the same mechanic who did the compression test or is there someone between the body shop and the comp. test mechanic?

An engine is not going to run at 40-50 on the compression and what they mean by this is PSI (pounds per square inch). Normally you’re looking for 150 PSI and up on all cylinders and when it gets down to 40-50 it’s not even going to start.

If the mechanic is injecting oil into the cylinders then of course it’s going to smoke. That’s normal. Hopefully this mechanic repeated the compression test after getting these 40-50 readings. A small amount of oil (teaspoon) should be put into the cylinder and retested.

If the oil does not smell like gas then it must not have been flooded too bad.
There are a thousand reasons why a battery can go bad at anytime and an engine can flood; trunk light staying on a la refrigerator, aged and weak battery, etc. and flooding could be caused by an intermittently sticking fuel injector, leaking fuel pressure regulator, etc. etc.

A guy brought a Volvo to me one time that was flooding, belching black smoke, etc, and I like to never figured that one out. The computer was under the seat and this guy (a traveling salesman) had thrown a Donald Duck orange juice container in the floor. The empty rolled back against the computer plug, the little bit of juice left seeped out and ran inside the plug, where the acidic juice proceeded to eat up part of the electronic circuit board. This caused the fuel injectors to stay energized, which means keeping them open all of the time.

If Michigan has a law like that I would be out of the business pronto. A car is a conglomeration of used parts that are prone to failure at any time and I think it’s absolutely idiotic that it would be presumed the shop is responsible for the failure. About a year ago I had to put a new battery in my Lincoln. The battery was only a couple of years old, never had been a problem, and when my wife attempted to leave the grocery store it was deader than a doornail. Charging the battery and load testing showed it was scrap at that point so I had to buy another battery.
So yes, it can happen that quick and I could relate a number of other example of things that are fine one minute and junk the next.

I’ve even purchased brand new parts that were no good right out of the box.
So I assume now the vehicle is running fine? I would definitely recommend checking the oil level and making sure it does not have a gas smell to it. That can be very rough on the engine internals.
Hope some of this diatribe helps anyway.

The car was dead at the body shop. The claim they never drove it except from the parking lot into the repair bay. The repair mechanic where it was towed to was the same one that discovered the flooding, checked the compression, and repaired it. I don’t know all of what he did to “repair” it - it sounded just like getting the gas cleaned out - but he didn’t tell me fix a stuck injector or fuel pressure guage and I wasn’t charged for any parts.

I agree a battery can be run down by leaving doors open, etc. I’ve done that. I was just wondering if the dead battery caused fruitless attempts to start the car that could have flooded it. My husband thinks the flooding came first and then the battery died trying to get it started.

So if the flooding could be due to a faulty part or a chance event like a struck fuel injector - is there any inspection or repair that should be done so it won’t happen again? I don’t want to have another expensive failure or an unsafe car. I will check the oil smell now to confirm the flooding diagnosis.

I’ll agree with you, betsybug. The body shop should have charged the battery, even if the engine wouldn’t start. Now, why didn’t they? I can’t see a shop not having a battery charger…and using it.
Compression checks are only valid on fully warmed engines; not, one stone cold.
I think the “low compression” was “repaired” by (finally) getting the car started, and, then, another compression test done.
What evidence was there that the engine was flooded?
Isn’t the mechanic revealing WHAT was done to “repair” the “flooding”? There is the tang of fish oil in the air.

What in the world do you mean “There is the tang of fish oil in the air.”
Do you mean something stinks here i’m takeing it? LOL

I believe that the low battery charge caused the flooding. On some of the cars that I worked on if the battery is not fully charged then when it trys to start your fuel pump will turn on for a few seconds and the fuel injecters will shoot gas into the cylinders then shut off till the engine starts. I belive that they tried to start it several times with a low charge on the battery and it was putting fuel into your cylinders each time they tried to start it. After awhile it washed all the oil away in the cylinders causeing it to bypass compression. When the mechanic put oil in each cylinder it allowed the compression to build back up to allow the engine to start and run. As ok4550 said it would be normal for the car to smoke heavily after starting it with the excess oil in each cylinder. It should stop smoking after a few minutes. If it does’nt then you have bad oil rings.

Ask the body shop if they tried to start your car repeatedly with the drained battery. Then tried to charge the battery and it still wouldn’t start.

I would have another compression test done on the car to reassure that there is no problems. Does or did the car smoke before the accident? If so what color was the smoke? White, gray or black smoke?